QUEENS — She works 12-hour overnight shifts, taking care of the sickest of patients.
"When people are feeling at their worst, they just want to know that someone cares about them," said nurse Starr Lentz.
Lentz certainly lives up to her name, as she brightens the halls of Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, where she’s worked for three years.
"Starr came in on an open interview day. She was vibrant and bubbly and full of energy," said Rhonnie Jackson, director of nursing at Northwell Health.
Jackson knew within the first three minutes that she wanted to hire Lentz.
Lentz's contagious smile and warm eyes helps her put her patients at ease.
But it’s her past that’s contributed most to the kind of nurse she is today.
"My mother was drug addicted. We got taken away from my mother. And she regained custody of and then around 14, we got taken away again," said Lentz.
She managed to graduate high school, but flunked out her first semester of college. That’s when Starr found herself pregnant with nowhere to go. It was then that she had her “turning point” after spending a night on a bench in Central Park.
"Once I became a mom, I decided I didn’t want to become a statistic," said Lentz.
So she got her nursing degree, all while working full time and caring for her young daughter. After years in the Nursing Corps, she found her way to Forest Hills.
"She was one of the people who against odds, survives," said Jackson.
The proof of which hangs in a thank you board for everyone to see.
"It reminds us of the great work that we do. It reminds us why we became nurses," said Jackson.
"I’m able to do something in my life that impacts other people," said Lentz. "Through your nose and out your mouth. Sounding clear!"